Situation in Brief

Malaysia’s Ministry of Health oversees a comprehensive network of community health centres that provide primary care and referrals to district and state hospitals. Eye health is largely integrated within that system. Optometrists work in hospitals with ophthalmologists, and where there is no optometrist the ophthalmologist carries out refractive services. The bulk of optometrists and opticians work privately and are based in urban centres. The number of cataract surgeries performed in the public system has more than doubled since 2002. A national survey on blindness was conducted in 1996. Like many countries, there is a lack of up-to-date epidemiological information on the prevalence of blindness, however data is collected monthly on cataract procedures and also treatments for diabetes, glaucoma, ARMD, Retinoblastoma are uploaded into a web-based National Eye Database. Challenges exist to ensure data from private facilities are fully incorporated in the national database. The prevalence of diabetes is increasing and estimates suggest that around 55% of people with diabetes have not had their eyes examined. In eye health, there is good collaboration among the Ministry, NGOs (including the National Council for the Blind) and the private sector. The National Prevention of Blindness (PBL) committee has not been active since 2008. The MOH convenes a committee at an operational level to oversee PBL activities.

Country Statistics

Indicator Value
Population: 29,240,000
Human development index value: 0.773
National Prevention of Blindness Committee active: No
National Eye Health Plan Developed: No
Cataract surgical rate: 2,290 (2009 estimate)
Number of ophthalmologists: 380
Blindness prevalence: 0.5%
Main causes of blindness: Cataract, glaucoma, retinal and corneal problems
Total expenditure on health as percentage of total government expenditure: 6.2
Diabetes prevalence: 10.1%
Improved drinking water coverage: 100%
Improved sanitation coverage: 96%
Endemic areas for trachoma: No